Author Bio and Photo are the first thing that would communicate about the author with the prospective readers and hence its importance cannot be negated, in fact it deserves your utmost attention.
Pick up any book at a store and by instinct we would first flip it over and see the plot summary followed by author bio. We even notice the picture of the author and probably identify the author and have an image of him/her in our minds. Now imagine you picking up a book and looking at an incomplete or very brief author bio? Or just gazing at an unprofessional looking photograph of the author? Chances are you may develop an image or prejudice about the author or atleast for the book and there are instances when people actually move away to the next book. This is especially critical for new author or relatively newer authors.
Author bio is important for you as an author to build a rapport with your readers even though you are not directly interacting with them. Readers pick up the book and they find a good detailed yet brief author bio that is well written, tells about you but not the boring details or personal life but just the things relevant like your qualifications, previous notable achievements or famous books, authors you admire, your favourite book, a bit of insight into your life. Make it to the point, engaging and not too boringly long. The reason as mentioned above is that it is what talks about you and on your behalf to the readers and is probably the first point to engage them in your current and future writings.
Now that we know why the author bio is important, let’s talk about the second equally important part, namely the Author Photo. You shouldn’t have a cool party pic as your author photo that is a given and pretty obvious, at the same time you need not post a suited up corporate looking photo either. The photo should be professional looking and you should be looking well groomed in it, but at the same time it can reflect your personality. For instance, if you are an animal lover, a picture with your pet can do no harm as long as it is a good looking photograph. Your reader knows who you are, what your personality is and that builds an image in their minds, that can be pretty much fixed and long lasting. It is important to have a good author photo that is a balance of casual and professional while not being too shabby at the same time not too boring either. You can always take opinions of well-wishers and friends and family who can give an unbiased opinion.
You may wonder that all of this is relevant for the paperback books and not so much for the digitally published eBooks, but it has equal importance here too. Even eBooks have author pics and author bio, so well, yeah it is important and all the above holds true in this medium too. So if you are about to publish an eBook or a Paperback, a good click with and some good words about yourself should be on top of your mind.